WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Roman Handel / Watson, Stumpf, Darling, Ryan, Bahmann, Musicians Of The Old Post Road

Handel / Watson / Stumpf / Darling
Release Date: 02/26/2013 
Label:  Centaur Records   Catalog #: 3246   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Frideric HandelGiovanni BononciniArcangelo CorelliGiovanni L. Lulier,   ... 
Performer:  Kristen WatsonSarah DarlingJesse IronsSuzanne Stumpf,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Old Post Road
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $16.99
CD:  $15.49
In Stock

Notes and Editorial Reviews

ROMAN HANDEL Kristen Watson (sop); Jesse Irons (vn); Musicians of the Old Post Road (period instruments) CENTAUR 3246 (63:40 Text and Translation)


This seems to be one of those topical discs where the title, Roman Handel , seems more of an advertising idea than an indication of the contents. What the period chamber Read more group The Musicians of the Old Post Road, taking its name from an early highway of the 17th century linking Boston with New York, has done is to take as their premise a selection of music that Handel would have heard (and perhaps composed) during his reputation-building sojourn in Italy beginning in 1706. So, if Handel must share the limelight with a number of contemporaries, so be it, for the purpose is to re-create a reasonable facsimile of what a concert might have included had they arranged it in Rome during the early part of the 18th century.

The result is a series of works that shares no common thread, save for the mixing of vocal and instrumental pieces. The two Handel works are probably fairly contemporaneous, that is, if the Concerto in D Minor is indeed by Handel at all. It comes from a Bavarian manuscript, where the attribution is highly suspect. To say, as the notes do, that it “possesses many features that resemble Handel’s early compositional style,” may be stretching things too far. The four movements are just the sort of instrumental chamber concerto that people like Georg Philipp Telemann were composing, and are fairly far removed from Handel’s more squared-off early works. The second movement fugue has the flute, violin, and continuo weaving in and around each other in a tight dance that often breaks into Fortspinning episodes, something that recurs in Telemann. The final gigue has almost a folk-like tune that again is not a Handelian trademark. The Corelli Trio Sonata, op. 2/5, has of course been the subject of numerous recordings, and while the performance here is quite nice, I don’t find anything distinguishing or novel that would make one sit up and take notice. The A-Minor Flute Concerto by Francesco Gasparini, on the other hand, is a lovely little piece that I am not sure has been recorded before. The second movement, with its lilting Siciliano rhythm and languid flute line floating above the continuo on harp stop, is particularly effective, though the two outer movements are more conventional. The first is a page right out of Vivaldi, while the last sounds more like Telemann.

The main events are the three vocal chamber cantatas. The first by Giovanni Bononcini, Handel’s rival, opens with a light and airy aria (following the usual short recitative) that would not be out of place in Scarlatti, especially with the parallel thirds like simultaneous echoes of birdcalls, with nice trilling in both voice and flute. The second, by Giovanni Lulier (c.1662-1700), is one recitative and aria longer. This is, to my knowledge, also a premiere recording, and I must confess not to have heard any Lulier, one of Corelli’s colleagues, before. The first aria is for voice and continuo praising the eyes of a beloved and sounds for all the world straight from an Alessandro Scarlatti opera. The final one is a tripping gigue, where the voice dances adroitly in 6/8. The final cantata, Tufedel by Handel, is one of his rarer works. It begins with a mincing overture (entitled sonata). Written in 1707, it concerns the rejection of a woman of her unfaithful lover. Here, one can note, for example, the gentle minuet of the third aria where she taunts her love with his infidelity in rocking sighs. At the end, her final aria is reminiscent of Cleopatra , and indeed Handel liked the half-parlando lines enough to use it later on in that opera. Here, though it is only a brief dismissal, barely 50 seconds long. The lighter tone of Kristen Watson is more definitive than an earlier recording on Coro Live with Elin Thomas from 2007, I find, though this may be a matter of personal taste.

The instruments of the group are all very much attuned to the intimate chamber quality necessary for these works. They work well together, and I can find no faults in tempo or phrasing. My only quibble would be that the flute of Suzanne Stumpf is initially a bit tentative, but by the Gasparini she is in good stride. The microphone could have been placed to give things more depth, but this is a disc that provides some nice music that, if one is in the mood for a baroque program of smaller chamber works, will fit the bill.

FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto a quattro for Flute, Violin, Cello and Basso Continuo in D minor by George Frideric Handel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Old Post Road
Period: Baroque 
Notes: Attributed to George Frideric Handel. 
Fuori di sua capanna by Giovanni Bononcini
Performer:  Kristen Watson (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Old Post Road
Period: Baroque 
Trio Sonatas (12) for 2 Violins and Basso Continuo, Op. 2: no 5 in B flat major by Arcangelo Corelli
Performer:  Sarah Darling (Violin), Jesse Irons (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Old Post Road
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1685; Rome, Italy 
Amor di che tu vuoi by Giovanni L. Lulier
Performer:  Kristen Watson (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Old Post Road
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Concerto in A minor for flute, two violins, and basso continuo by Francesco Gasparini
Performer:  Suzanne Stumpf (Flute), Michael Bahmann (Harpsichord)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Old Post Road
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Tu fedel?, tu constante?, HWV 171 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Kristen Watson (Soprano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Old Post Road
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1706-1707; Italy 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title